PSIR 556 | Course Introduction and Application Information

Course Name
Contemporary Issues in International Relations
Local Credits
PSIR 556

Course Language
Course Type
Course Level
Second Cycle
Course Coordinator -
Course Lecturer(s)
Course Objectives This course aims at providing graduate students with new perspectives on current issues and debates in the study of International Relations, and it also targets at enabling the students to analyze those issues using critical lenses.
Course Description The students who succeeded in this course;
  • The students successfully completing this course would be able to; Identify the principal current issues and debates in international relations,
  • Analyze those issues using objective and critical lenses;
  • Develop their own opinions, interpretations, perspectives regarding those issues,
  • Compare/contrast the perspectives, positions and policies of leading international actors with respect to those issues,
  • Make projections on future trends and challenges likely to be faced by international community in coming years.
Course Content The focus of the course would be some of the current issues and debates of international relations. The methodology of the course will be lecturer’s presentation and explanations intermingled with class discussion and students’ contributions.


Course Category

Core Courses
Major Area Courses
Supportive Courses
Media and Management Skills Courses
Transferable Skill Courses



Week Subjects Related Preparation
1 Introduction: Course objectives, content, methodology
2 Environmental Issues in international relations Matteo Fagotto, “West Africa Is Being Swallowed by the Sea”, Foreign Policy, 21 October 2016; Peter Hough, “Environmental Security” in Peter Hough (ed), International Security, 2014; Keith Johnson, “The Meltdown of the Global Order”, Foreign Policy, 23 July 2015; Brian Deese, “Paris Isn’t Burning”, Foreign Affairs, 22 May 2017; Sarah Kaplan, “Thousands of scientists issue bleak ‘second notice’ to humanity”, The Washington Post, 13 November 2017; Colum Lynch, “U.N. Chief Takes Veiled Swipe at Trump on Climate Abdication”, Foreign Policy, 30 May 2017.
3 Energy’s role in international relations Doug Sanders, “Europe’s multicultural fears hide an integration success story”, The Globe and Mail, 7 January 2018; Elizabeth Ferris and Kemal Kirişçi, “Not likely to go home”, Brookings Policy Paper, September 2015; “Strangers in strange lands”, The Economist, 12 September 2015; Suzanne Nossel, “Europe’s Free-Speech Apocalypse Is Already There”, Foreign Policy, 17 March 2016; Alex Their, “Maters of Disasters?”, Foreign Policy, 23 May 2016; Tara Zahra, “Europe’s Shifting Borders”, Foreign Affairs, 11 February 2017; Antonio Guterres, “Millions Uprooted”, Foreign Affairs, “1 September 2008.
4 Mass population movements, migration, refugees François Bourguignon, “Inequality and Globalization”, Foreign Affairs, 14 December 2015; Bruce Pillbeam, “The United Nations and the responsibility to protect” in Peter Hough (ed), International Security Studies, 2014; Kevin Rudd, “How to Fix the United Nations”, Foreign Policy, 19 September 2016; Stewart Patrick, “World Weary”, Foreign Affairs, 20 October 2015; Beril Dedeoğlu, “The world is bigger than 5”, Daily Sabah, 28 September 2016.
5 Questions of justice in international system David G. Victor and Kassia Yanosek, “The Next Energy Revolution”, Foreign Affairs, 13 June 2017; Keith Johnson and Robbie Gramer, “Congress Weighs Threat of Moscow Wielding the Energy Weapon”, Foreign Policy, 12 December 2017; Michael Schellenberger, “The Nuclear Option”, Foreign Affairs, 15 August 2017.
6 Regionalism, irredentism, micro-nationalism John Newhouse, “Europe’s Rising Regionalism”, Foreign Affairs, 1 January 1997; Sebastian Balfour, “A Brief History of Catalan Nationalism”, Foreign Affairs, 18 October 2017; Edoardo Campanella, “Europe, Fracturing From Within”, Foreign Affairs, 17 January 2017; James Badcock, “The Pain in Spain”, Foreign Policy, 1 October 2012; Joost Hilterman and Maria Fantappie, “Twilight of the Kurds”, Foreign Policy, January 2018.
7 Populism, post-truth, personalistic rules: end of democracy and liberalism? Stephan M. Walt, “Trump Isn’t Sure If Democracy Is Better Than Autocracy”, Foreign Policy, 13 November 2017; Ishaan Tharoor, “The widening gap between liberals and the people who hate them”, The Washington Post, 13 December 2017; Fareed Zakaria, “Populism on the March”, Foreign Affairs, 17 October 2017; Robert Muggah and Brian Winter, “Is Populism Making a Comeback in Latin America?”, Foreign Policy, 23 October 2017.
8 Midterm exam
9 China as a global power Robert J. Samuelson, ”China’s breathtaking transformation into a scientific superpower”, The Washington Post, 21 January 2018; Elizabeth C. Economy, “History with Chinese Characteristics”, Foreign Affairs, 13 June 2017; Peter Hough and Shahin Malik, “China” in Peter Hough (ed), International Security, 2014; Brook Larmer, “Is China the World’s New Colonial Power?”, The Washington Post, 2 May 2017; Evan Osnos, “Making China Great Again”, The New Yorker, 8 January 2018.
10 Europe: Quo vadis? Dermot McCann, “Security in Europe” in Peter Hough (ed), International Security, 2014; “Stephen M. Walt, “Does Europe Have a Future?”, Foreign Policy, 16 July 2015.
11 Conflict in Syria: actors, agendas Jonathan Spyer, “Welcome to Syria 2.0”, Foreign Policy, 25 January 2018; Semih İdiz, “Animosity toward US uniting Turkey, Russia, Iran in Syria”, al-Monitor, 13 February 2018; Tarek Osman, “The Problem with Syria’s Demographics”, Foreign Affairs, 27 July 2017; Aaron Stein, “Turkey’s Afrin Offensive and America’s Future in Syria”, Foreign Affairs, 23 January 2018.
12 Global leadership Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wolforth”, “The Once and Future Superpower”, Foreign Affairs, 13 April 2016; Robert Farley, “Yes, America’s Military Supremacy Is Fading”, National Interest, 21 September 2015; Robert Kagan, “backing Into World War III”, Foreign Policy, 6 February 2017; Graham Allison, “China vs. America”, Foreign Affairs, 15 August 2017; Emile Simpson, “Macron the Conqueror”, Foreign Policy, 18 January 2018; Walter Russel Mead and Sean Keeley, “The Eight Great Powers of 2017”, American Interest, 24 January 2017.
13 Arms control Aaron J. Bonovitch, “START from the basics to maintain nuclear stability”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 30 January 2018; Andrew Moran, “Nuclear Proliferation” in Peter Hough (ed), International Security, 2014; Sıtkı Egeli, “Turkey embarks Upon Ballistic Missiles”, Uluslararası İlişkiler, December 2017.
14 Money and finance Adam S. Posen, “The Post-American World Economy”, Foreign Affairs, 13 February 2018; Kathleen R. McNamara, “The Euro in Decline?”, Foreign Affairs, 12 January 2018; Hongying Wang, “China and the International Monetary System”, Foreign Affairs, 19 December 2017; Joseph Bonneau and Steven Goldfeder, “Five myths about bitcoin”, The Washington Post, 15 December 2017.
15 Review of the semester
16 Final Exam


Course Notes/Textbooks

This course does not have specific course book.

Suggested Readings/Materials

This course does not have specific book. Instead, there will be large number of weekly reading assignments comprising articles, manuscripts, reports and news stories drawn from a large variety of books, journals, periodicals, magazines and newspapers. Assigned readings for each lecture would be available on the course’s Blackboard page a week or two in advance.



Semester Activities Number Weigthing
Laboratory / Application
Field Work
Quizzes / Studio Critiques
Homework / Assignments
Presentation / Jury
Seminar / Workshop
Oral Exams
Final Exam

Weighting of Semester Activities on the Final Grade
Weighting of End-of-Semester Activities on the Final Grade


Semester Activities Number Duration (Hours) Workload
Theoretical Course Hours
(Including exam week: 16 x total hours)
Laboratory / Application Hours
(Including exam week: 16 x total hours)
Study Hours Out of Class
Field Work
Quizzes / Studio Critiques
Homework / Assignments
Presentation / Jury
Seminar / Workshop
Oral Exam
Final Exam



Program Competencies/Outcomes
* Contribution Level
1 To improve theoretical and conceptual proficiencies on Political Science and International Relations and to ultimately deepen and develop intellectual interest X
2 To evaluate the relationships between factors in the field of Political Science and International Relations such as structures, actors, institutions and culture in a critical perspective  X
3 To provide advanced competences to determine and question the theoretical and emprical gaps in Political Science and International Relations literature  X
4 To identify the political and cultual conditions that generate discrimination mechanisms based on race, ethnic groups, gender and religion at national and international levels  X
5 To provide competences to develop original arguments in order to fill the gaps in Political Science and International Relations literature X
6 To determine, collect, resolve, and interpret the data that would measure the theories and concepts as variables by using scientific research methods in Political Science and International Relations field X
7 To use confidently the terms and concepts of Political Science and International Relations  X
8 To communicate systematically, in written, oral, and visual forms, contemporary developments in Political Science and International Relations to groups inside and outside the said discipline  X
9 To take responsibility in an individual capacity and as part of a team in generating solutions to unexpected problems that arise in relation to politics in daily life  X
10 To develop projects determining the institutional and political instruments for management of domestic and international conflicts  X
11 To prepare an orginal thesis/term project about Political Science and International Relations in accordance with scentific criteria  X
12 To design and carry out a scientific research project in the field of Political Science and International Relations  X
13 To have ethical, social and scientific values in the stages throughout the processes of collecting, interpreting, disseminating and implementing data relevant to Political Science and International Relations  X

*1 Lowest, 2 Low, 3 Average, 4 High, 5 Highest